Using big data to improve customer experience and financial results

For enterprises both large and small, it’s important to have a strategy in place to better serve customers using collected information

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Technology provides businesses across all industries with tools and capabilities that optimize operations in order to maximize revenue and minimize waste. Many industries now have access to up-to-date information on customer experience, product acceptance, and financial transactions. Organizations no longer have to wait in the dark until the end of the week, month, or quarter, to find out whether marketing campaigns are producing intended results. Instead, decision makers can view, analyze, and respond to results in real time.

According to a survey from Dell, companies that have added big data strategies have grown by 50 percent. Although adding troves of digital information alone is not likely to be the primary cause of that growth, the correlation appears significant enough to demonstrate that thriving businesses see data as an integral part of their growth-oriented operational asset mix. Because so many successful organizations recognize this, data science—the mining and utilization of that information—has become a new economic cornerstone of enterprise success.

As data science has become a strategic necessity, information has made the corporate landscape more competitive than ever. Businesses of all sizes must find innovative ways to put data to use in order to remain relevant. What follows is a short list of companies that are gaining attention for their data-driven efforts.


In the U.S. alone, prescription errors cost thousands of lives a year, and MedAware aims to change that. The company’s data-driven solution helps eliminate those errors through the use of algorithms that analyze electronic medical records. If a prescription deviates from standard treatment, it is flagged for review. MedAware offers several solutions that medical facilities and practices can put in place to catch costly errors. These include seemingly simple features like spell check and reporting that, while taken for granted on many levels, play a significant role in establishing the safety and accuracy of medication administration that can ultimately make the difference between life and death. These functions can also be used to highlight trending issues in certain areas of operations and make continuous quality improvement adjustments as necessary.


Successful businesses know one of the best ways to build customer engagement today is through in-person events and experiential marketing programs. AnyRoad makes sure those entities are able to measure the return on investment out of each event with specialized data software designed to collect detailed information on participants and their quantifiably recorded degree of loyalty. That information can then be put to use for follow-up emails and surveys that convert attendees into long-term customers. In addition to relationship management, AnyRoad also offers deep insights that can help brands A/B test different experiences and learn from past data to create better experiences in the future.


Sports organizations rely on deeply-engaged fans for success. The NBA now uses analytics as part of its drafting process, paying close attention to a player’s stats, as well as stats for entire teams. Data has become such an important part of professional sports, the NBA regularly hosts hackathons where it invites students and developers to spend 24 solid hours crunching numbers and solving problems. Winners get prizes like lunch with the NBA commissioner and a trip to the NBA All-Star game.


Whole Foods (now part of Amazon) is already well aware of its specialized demographic that appears to include more affluent shoppers who appear to be on the lower end of being classified as middle-aged. The company goes one step further in monitoring and winning customers, partnering with Thinknear, a location marketing firm, to deliver advertising to anyone searching for information nearby. The same technology can be used for “geo-conquesting,” which targets customers at nearby stores of any given kind with attractive inducement offers that encourage them to visit a specific competitor in order to find and capture a great deal on whatever it is the customer may want. As a result of implementing Thinknear technology, Whole Foods saw an immediate increase in its conversion rates, and that translated into both increased total revenue and increased profit.


Amazon has long been using analytics and artificial intelligence to better serve its large customer base. The company’s new Echo Look device is only the latest example of this. It gathers data as it provides a service. The camera-equipped style assistant not only offers advice from fashion specialists and machine-learning algorithms, it also collects information that can then be used to better serve customers. By using Echo Look, customers are registering into a system where they agree to share their buying preference information with Amazon. That information is then used to enable Amazon to deliver more accurate marketing messages and product offers the result of which can be measured and analyzed to confirm accuracy of targeting as well as resulting sales and revenue.


Hotels are constantly trying to find new ways in which to win over travelers looking for a place to stay. Duetto specializes in helping hotels maximize profit and minimize waste. The company uses data to determine ideal timing for price surges and discounts that are a natural part of hotel finance. Each price takes dates, channels, room types, and other factors into account, ensuring each rate quote gives the best deal for the customer while also maximizing profitability for the hotel. Since the software uses machine learning, the algorithms are constantly being updated to provide the best results for each hotel using the service. This type of intelligent price and offer optimization provides a transformative breakthrough to an industry that is constantly seeking to refine operational efficiency.


Retailers of all sizes have learned the benefits of tracking consumer behavior in their stores. One tech company behind this tracking is RetailNext, a solutions provider that specializes in monitoring customer traffic. By gathering data on how often a customer visits, how long each stay is, and which displays he or she interacted with, stores can pinpoint areas that need to be improved for a better customer experience. This traffic measurement also provides store managers with traffic measurement data that can be used to augment and improve employee scheduling. As a result, retailers can optimize resourcing-related operating expense in order to maximize profit and minimize waste.

As the examples above demonstrate, data powers many of the operations businesses conduct each day. For enterprises both large and small, it’s important to have a strategy in place to better serve customers using collected information. Once that strategy is implemented, decision makers can lead their organization more effectively through innovative approaches to customer experience optimization and improvement of financial results.


Copyright © 2017 IDG Communications, Inc.